Despite showing a clear move towards electrification, BMW says it will stay committed to its diesel technology and fuel cells.
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“The future belongs to sustainable mobility – which we regard as both our duty and obligation,” said BMW Group CEO Harald Krueger. “We will continue to chart our own course. It is still unclear which drivetrain will prevail, but we are prepared: We are optimizing the combustion engine with Efficient Dynamics NEXT, in which efficient diesel engines will continue to play an important role. At the same time, we are electrifying our vehicles – focusing on battery power for short distances and fuel cells for longer trips. In this area, we are working closely with our partner, Toyota.”
Fuel Cell Technology
Tesla, and owner Elon Musk, have been adamant that hydrogen is not the answer and that we must focus on pure battery power to create a better automotive future. BMW, Toyota and Honda, however, feel differently. They feel that battery technology simply isn’t up to par at the moment and won’t be for some time, so an alternative must be developed during the interim and they feel that hydrogen is the best alternative.
BMW first started with hydrogen powered cars with the Hydrogen 7 in 2005, a 7 Series powered by a V12 fueled by liquid hydrogen stored in a cryogenic tank, though BMW first started making hydrogen fuel cells in 1999. Last year, BMW showcased a 5 Series GT FCEV (Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle). Some of the main benefits for this FCEV hydrogen fuel cell technology are the size and range.
Pure EVs are usually quite small, to conserve weight and be aerodynamic, but hydrogen powered cars don’t have to be.Using hydrogen fuel cells to power electric motors gives BMWs the kind of power and performance their customers are used to with incredible efficiency and no charge times. It’s also the cleanest form of energy we can use and is the most abundant source of energy in our known universe.
Diesel engines have been at the center of media news in the last year. After the “VW dieselgate” many have wondered what the future of diesels may be, but BMW has reinforced over and over again that it will stay true to its clean diesel tech. Today, Krueger says the plans have not changed.
“In the automotive industry, a certain amount of valuable trust has been lost. At the BMW Group, we have strong values. We do not manipulate. Starting in 2017, fuel consumption and emissions will be measured under realistic conditions. We have supported the introduction of new test cycles from the very beginning. That is the only way to rebuild trust.”
The first step towards a new diesel era was made with the introduction of BMW’s first quad-turbo engine.